This collection of essays celebrates the work of the French Nobel prize-winning novelist Claude Simon. Scholars from France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom reconsider the fifty years of Simon’s fiction in the light of his large-scale autobiographical novel Le Jardin des Plantes (1997). From a variety of perspectives – postmodernist, psychoanalytic, aesthetic – contributors reflect on the central paradox of Simon’s work: his writing and rewriting of an experience of war so disruptive and traumatic that words can never be adequate to communicate it. The layers of artifice in Le Jardin des Plantes and the nature of Simon’s aesthetic are analysed in essays which explore intertextual resonances between Simon and Proust, Flaubert, Borges and Poussin. A complementary view of Simon’s Photographies 1937–1970 shows that it too can be seen as form of indirect autobiography.
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